CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – We continue our winter sports team previews by taking a look at one of the many teams in our area that will be playing in a new classification this year — the Notre Dame boys basketball team.
According to their head coach, they’re happy to just be playing, but they’re also excited for the challenge ahead.
Jarrod West’s Notre Dame club is making the two-class jump up to Triple-A this season, due to the state’s four-classification experiment in high school basketball.
West says he and his team aren’t as concerned with the change as others outside the program are, but it still provides motivation heading into this season.
“We’re not the big kid on the block anymore. We’re the new kids on the block, which, we take that in stride,” said West at practice on Tuesday. “We’re not worried about that. We made the jump (to Triple-A). Other people are making a bigger deal of it than we are.”
Notre Dame returns plenty of experience to this year’s squad, including its entire starting lineup of Kobe and Clay Martino, Elijah Goodman, Wade Britton, and first-team all-state selection, Jaidyn West.
“What was the biggest difference you’re going to see in Jaidyn this year?,” West said he was asked earlier this week. “I said, the biggest difference, hopefully, we’ll see is his supporting cast has gotten better. The twins (Kobe and Clay); Dominic Zummo has made a big jump. D-Wade has made a big jump. Elijah, obviously a senior captain coming back. A year of experience is going to help us drastically. Fourteen veterans coming back is going to help us drastically.”
West also says that this is the first time in his coaching tenure he’ll return all five of his starters from one year to the next. He’ll need that experience and talent to go up against the schedule he’s put together for his team, which includes games against Fairmont Senior, Morgantown, and Poca, among others.
“I told my AD, I want to play against the top talent in the state, and if we’re not good enough we got to get better. We want to be battle tested. We want to play against the top competition,” said West.
West and his team are just thankful to be in position to play games, which they’ll start doing on March 11 when the Irish host Grafton.